Thursday, August 25, 2011
Mets Starting Pitcher Candidates to replace Jon Niese in the rotation..
Insiders predict the 40-year-old Batista, who was released by the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this season, may be with the Mets as soon as this Friday's series opener against the Braves and is the best option to start. (The Post says a Sunday rainout against the Braves could be made up during a series in Atlanta in September, with the Mets as home team one game, although the more likely scenario is a mutual Sept. 8 off-day.)
Batista, meanwhile, allowed four runs on nine hits, including a pair of homers, in 5 2/3 innings in his past start, but the newly promoted Nickeas said: "That line can be taken with a grain of salt a little bit because it was in Columbus. The couple of homers that they hit, it's a small park, and the wind was blowing out. I would say they actually didn't hit him that hard. They just hit homers there."
Nickeas went on to say Batista has "a lot" left at age 40.
"His velocity has been good," Nickeas said. "His command has improved steadily since he started."